Top 5 Herbs for Managing Inflammation
Inflammation is usually a good thing- as its our body’s protective response to injury or damage, and helps us to heal and repair. However, in certain cases inflammation can become chronic, and this can causes issues in the long term with health problems. While in some cases and situations over-the-counter painkillers can be necessary, if used on a long term basis they can have many side effects like GI upset, and so long term aren’t really a viable solution for chronic pain, and often they are just masking the issue without actually looking what is behind it.
We always want to try and get to the root cause of what is causing the inflammation, and while we work on this, it can be helpful to have a little nutritional support from herbs and nutrients to help us manage the pain and inflammation. Collagen powder itself is very anti-inflammatory, and can be useful to support recovery from injury, illness or surgery. There are also many friends in the plant kingdom that we can use to help ease pain and inflammation. Here are some of our favourites:
1: Turmeric: Of course this was always going to be our number 1. The star of the health and wellness movement for the last few years, and most researched of the herbal supplements. It’s been used for thousands of years, and modern research has backed up its many uses. One study in 2009, found turmeric eased pain as much as ibuprofen did in patients with arthritis. It is very high in antioxidants which help to combat free radicals and the chain of destruction they can cause that can lead to inflammation.
2: Boswellia: Also known as Frankincense, which is a resin extracted from Boswellia trees. It has anti-inflammatory properties and can help with pain management. One study showed the combination of boswellia and turmeric to be particularly effective for osteoarthritis, and it’s recommended for ongoing inflammatory conditions.
3: Bromelain: Bromelain is an enzyme found in pineapple and it can have system wide effects, helping to reduce inflammation and pain. You can get some bromelain from eating pineapple but most of it is located in the hard stem- try juicing this with some ginger and turmeric root for a powerful anti-inflammatory shot.
4: Ginger: Ginger is a well known kitchen spice, you may add it to your cooking or juice it regularly. It has been shown to have a better therapeutic effect than non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) for pain and inflammation. The compounds gingerol and zingerone are thought to be responsible for its ability to fight inflammation.
5: White Willow Bark: This has been used for thousands of years to reduce inflammation. It contains salicin, which is a compounds similar to aspirin, but it works with fewer side effects. You can find it as a tea, in capsules, or a tincture.
Inflammation can be caused by a variety of external triggers from our environment, lifestyles and food. It’s important to focus on your diet and lifestyle to help reduce pain and discomfort. Focus on eating more whole foods with anti-inflammatory properties like collagen powder, berries, green leafy vegetables, omega-3 rich foods like salmon, flaxseed and walnuts, and spices. Avoid foods that seem to worsen inflammation like processed and refined forms of sugar and carbohydrates, omega-6 rich vegetable oils, and trans fats in processed foods. Making some simple diet and lifestyle changes and incorporating some of the above herbs should have you well on the way to managing your bodies inflammatory response.